LOWER GWYNEDD >> The Abington boys soccer has been making itself pretty comfortable in the Suburban One League American Conference.
Shifting over from the SOL National this season, the Galloping Ghosts sat in first place in the conference after outscoring opponents 19-3 in their first four American contests.
But on a rainy, gray-skied Monday afternoon, Wissahickon emphatically rolled back the welcome mat.
Trey Schwartz scored less than three minutes and the host Trojans blitzed Abington in the first half, scoring four times before the break and routed the Ghosts 6-0.
“We knew Abington was the team to beat. They beat Upper Dublin 7-0 (last Wednesday) and Upper Dublin’s usually a good team. We came in today, we were just trying to win the game,” Schwartz said. “We played really well. This is our first time on the turf – I think we play better on here.
“Abington, I guess they must of just had a bad game because we really didn’t expect them to beat them by that much.”
Schwartz finished with a hat trick and almost came away with a four-goal effort if not for his first-half penalty kick being denied by Ghosts keeper Alex Haycock. The senior put Wissahickon up 3-0 on a nifty volley 22 minutes in then tallied his third with 14:15 left in the second half.
“I definitely should of put the PK away,” Schwartz said. “I’d rather have four but as long as we win a game I’m OK with scoring three.”
Eddie Fortescue scored both of his goals in the first half as the Trojans (3-0-2, 3-0-2 conference) won their second straight and earned their first shutout of the season. The six goals were the most Wissahickon has scored since defeating Springfield (Delco) 6-1 in the 2014 District 1-3A second round.
“If you’re not going to be pleased with a game like that with the result and the way they played, you know, you shouldn’t be coaching,” Wissahickon coach Stuart Malcom said. “We knew they obviously were strong, powerful. They’re obviously a physical team. We just had to match that. We were fortunate, we managed to get a goal early on and that’s always key in these games.”
Outside of Haycock’s PK save, not much went well for the Ghosts, who went down a man after back-to-back yellow cards with 26:16 remaining in the second half. Abington (6-1-0, 4-1-0) was shutout for the first time this year and allowed six goals for the first time since falling to Neshaminy 6-3 in 2010.
“It was one of those days. I don’t have an explanation why they played so poorly but mentally they weren’t ready to play this game,” Abington coach Randy Garber said. “They thought that probably that they had to show up with the record that they had and Wissahickon wasn’t going to play and that was just the opposite.
“They were good, they did everything right. They score goals, they worked hard, they beat us to the ball, they had a wonderful performance and they deserved it.”
Wissahickon, which moved to within a point of the first-place Ghosts (12 to 11) in the SOL American standings, is home 3:30 p.m. Thursday against Upper Dublin. Abington hosts Hatboro-Horsham 3:30 p.m. Thursday.
“Today, you’re going to take it but it’s all how they’re going to respond to this,” Malcolm said. “I’m sure they’re going to look at this and say OK, this is a huge wake-up call for them and they’re going to go on and have a really great season. And I’m sure they’re really going to look forward the return match when we play them in Abington. We’ll just have to be mentally prepared for that one too.”
Schwartz staked the Trojans out to the quick 1-0 lead as he headed in a Fortescue throw-in at 37:36
“We literally probably get five or six of those every single game and it’s like clockwork,” Schwartz said. “Every single time, I try and go and get a header and every once in a while I’ll break free and get open, the balls lands in right there, just head it in.
“That’s the point of having a person like Eddie, who has a weapon when they throw it in that far. That’s always an opportunity for a goal.”
Fortescue drew a foul in the Ghosts’ 18-yard box for a penalty kick at 30:29 but Schwartz could not double the advantage — his low shot down the middle was denied by Haycock’s kick save.
The Trojans’ second goal ended up coming from Fortescue, who headed in a Christian Vorchheimer cross between two defenders at the far right post at 24:45.
“I take nothing away from Wissahickon. They’re a very good team. They scored some early goals and they just never let up,” Garber said. “They beat us to the ball and our defense couldn’t get the ball out of the 18. Our goalkeeper saved a penalty kick and I thought that might inspire them to play a little better, but it didn’t seem to. It just was one of those days that the ball was going to go in the back of the net and for whatever reason we didn’t work hard.”
Schwartz extended the lead to 3-0 at 14:15 when Abington could not fully clear its box after a Trojans throw-in. David Goldstein headed a ball toward Schwartz, who had his back to goal but spun and volleyed a shot that eluded Haycock and went into the right corner.
“The ball just came out, it was bouncing out, I knew a people were coming out at me so I kind of just turned and just hit it, tried to hit it at the goal,” Schwartz said. “It just found the corner, which I was obviously glad.”
Wissahickon tallied fourth goal with 9:08 left before halftime off a counterattack down the sideline with Fortescue earning his brace by getting a touch on the ball to send it past Haycock.
Schwartz capped his hat trick by ripping in a shot off a pass at 14:15 in the second half after getting played forward by a pass from Adam Borrowman, who scored the Trojans’ sixth and final goal at 11:05.